Top critical review
18 people found this helpful
Lots Of Errors, Should Have Been More Carefully Researched
on 31 March 2013
*Written by duchess1's daughter, Rachel Louise Jones, with duchess1's permission.*
I really wanted to enjoy this book, and in all honesty it was a very fun read. Bromley writes in a way that is comical, self-deprecating, and at times quite tongue-in-cheek, and I'm sure that for anyone who was a child and / or teenager in the eighties, this book will bring back many musical memories. However, my enjoyment of the book was ruined considerably by the simple fact that Tom Bromley's own facts are largely wrong.
Many of the factual errors are silly mistakes that surely no-one could ever make - getting the year of Michael Jackson's death wrong, for example, or saying that Wendy Carlos used to be Wayne Carlos, when everyone surely knows that she was Walter Carlos (just where on earth did Bromley get "Wayne" from?!).
And still there's more. Bromley says "A Clockwork Orange" was banned (it wasn't; it was in fact withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick himself), he lists Kraftwerk's "Tour De France" as one of his favourite eighties albums when actually it was never more than a 1983 single (an album of new material, "Tour De France Soundtracks", wasn't created until 2003), and he makes myriad lazy descriptions of famous music videos and live performances that suggest that he has seen said clips, but didn't bother to refresh his memory with a quick visit to Youtube five minutes before writing about them. Add to this mix page after page of typographic errors, and for someone who a) is a sucker for getting the facts perfect and pedantic, and b) wasn't born until 1990 and yet I know that I'm right and he's wrong, does make it at times a very frustrating read. And at the risk of hearing the phrase "sour grapes", it does make one wonder how some people can make it in this world as writers, and others can't.
The title of the book is also quite misleading. For every two or three pages genuinely telling the stories of Bromley's childhood and teenage years, there are about fifteen pages devoted to the history of the decade's music. I don't mind too much, but it does make the title seem forced, and it also suggests that Bromley's eighties upbringing, described all too frequently by the writer himself as painfully middle class, wasn't really eventful enough to be worth writing about.
Because of all of the mistakes, I'd recommend getting the book out of a library before purchasing it; doing so stopped me from wasting my own money. It's a shame, because as I've said, I really wanted to enjoy this book. On reflection, a better documentation of a writer's childhood and teenage years seen through admittedly slightly earlier music would be "The Importance Of Music To Girls" by Lavinia Greenlaw, another misleading title, but at least the book sticks to being the memoir it's described as on the blurb.
As an even bigger TV history buff than I am a music buff, I shall be reading Bromley's similar take on 80s television (again, out of the library just to be safe), with not the highest of expectations, though I know that if he gets even more facts wrong I'll still be thoroughly disappointed. Overall, "Wired For Sound" was a well-meaning effort, but one with so many flaws that it should have had more thorough research and greater care in proofreading before coming to print.